Wanted Russian spy ring member skips bail in Cyprus

Achilleos Hotel

Achilleos Hotel

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Police in the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus have issued an arrest warrant for a member of an alleged Russian spy ring in the United States, who had been released on bail following his capture on Tuesday. The FBI says that Christopher R. Metsos, who holds Canadian citizenship, was the financial go-between in the 11-member Russian spy ring, which was busted in a series of coordinated raids across several US states on Saturday. On June 25, Interpol issued an international arrest warrant for Metsos, who escaped arrest in the US because he was in Cyprus, where he had arrived on June 17. He was arrested at the island’s Larnaca International Airport on Tuesday, while trying to board a flight for Budapest, Hungary. Remarkably, however, Metsos was soon released on bail, awaiting an extradition request from Washington. Predictably, on Wednesday, he failed to report to Larnaca police, as stipulated in his bail release court order. Police authorities contacted his Cypriot lawyers, who said their client had also failed to show up for a planned meeting with them earlier that day. An immediate search by a police squad at Larnaca’s Achilleos Hotel Apartments (photo) where Metsos had been staying, showed that he had left. This prompted Cypriot authorities to issue a warrant for Metsos’ arrest, for breaching the legal stipulations of his release. At this point, most observers assume that Metsos has been taken out of the country by Russian intelligence officers, possibly by slipping into Northern Cyprus, a de facto state that is recognized only by Turkey and has no formal international extradition treaties. Interestingly, the receptionist at the Cyprus hotel where Metsos was staying claimed that the Interpol fugitive was escorted by a female companion, “much younger, who remained constantly at his side”, and appeared to be “either Russian or Bulgarian”. The US State Department has so far deferred comment on the case to the Cypriot authorities.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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